please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Item, and Report

(NPR recently ran their apparently annual contest in which you write a story based entirely off a single image. It is referred to as the Three Minute Story, and has a word limit of 600 words.

The deadline for submission was the last night of February. I blew it. But the reward, such as it was, was to have some poet read your story on 'All Things Considered', I believe. So I kind of don't care about the reward aspect anyway.

Anyway, there's the picture. Let's rumble.)

First of all, I would like to object to the obviousness in the placement of the drop. He is supposed to be a professional, not some sort of false-flag. If he thinks that it's acceptable to just get up, throw his empty coffee cup in the bus tub and just casually walk away from his "newspaper," then someone needs to speak to his superior. There are people watching who know exactly what this really means.

Now I am forced to sit here and actively ignore the thing. He did do an excellent job of not acknowledging my presence in any way, knowing as he probably does that the people who "work here" are probably Unfriendly. They ignore me too, except to serve me coffee that I carefully observe the preparation of, accept my money and a little too convincingly wish me a "good one."

But after he so cavalierly tossed away this drop, I cannot access it to see what the message was. It's too hot. Probably every fourth person in here is working for someone, and I can't even say if that was even my Guy. For all I know, that isn't a message at all, but a deadly virus delivery system, and every fourth person in here will soon get up, flee as casually as possible, as the rest of us are left to slowly expire, struck down by a silent killer.

I betray no outward sign of all this, though. I was trained by people who knew their business. Serious people. People who were so good at the basics of Turning and Instruction that they sounded like my own voice. Like they were literally in my head. I cannot thank them enough for the training I received, as it has probably saved my life more times than I can tell.

And this Operation, if I may say so, has been interminable. Seemingly as long as I've been alive. I have seen Operatives come and go. They never seem to stay very long. That is the nature of the game: they get reassigned, they get transferred, and yes, sometimes they are liquidated.

Worst of all, we who reside within the parameters of this game are never allowed to know its aims and ends. It's best not to ask, and just understand that each of us fulfills a vital purpose within it, but still it can occasionally chafe, even on the most seasoned professional.

For instance, I cannot even talk to my own family about this. My sister says that I am crazy, and unfortunately I can do nothing to allay her concerns in this area, since not only must I keep my silence on this, but she would scarcely understand anyway, were I to tell her. How could I? Some of us are watching out, while the rest of you sleep.

The battle goes on, and there is no one to help with this problem in my head. A growing doubt, a crisis of faith, that there may not be anyone watching anymore, or listening. What if my handlers are all dead? Or have turned their backs, as sometimes they must do? How will I know? How can I?

But I have the best cover of all. That's right: just some guy in a coffee shop. Pay no mind. It's just like I'm living my life. That is why I keep my silence, over here in this chair, staring but not so anyone would notice, at the headline on the page, UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES SKYROCKET, and try not to look suspicious as the server comes over and asks how "everything's going over here."



Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

And this was not chosen? Fools!
Great piece. :) Thank you.

6:32 AM  
Blogger rich bachelor said...

Well, it wasn't chosen because I didn't send it in. I missed the deadline because I thought I had already missed the deadline...Besides, that was the night we loaded out "Walking With Dinosaurs", and I...Well, thank you.

9:41 AM  
Blogger 傻眼 said...


7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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12:34 AM  

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